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American War

3.89 based on 7214 ratings & 1441 reviews on Goodreads.com
Macmillan Digital Audio

07 September 17
9781509863938
0
£21.99
743 mins
Dion Graham

Synopsis

'[American War] creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America . . . El Akkad has written a novel that not only maps the harrowing effects of violence on one woman and her family, but also becomes a disturbing parable about the ruinous consequences of war on ordinary civilians.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war – part of the Miraculous Generation – now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family’s role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.

In the media

Follow the tributaries of today’s political combat a few decades into the future and you might arrive at something as terrifying as Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War . . . Poignant and horrifying . . . El Akkad demonstrates a profound understanding of the corrosive culture of civil war, the offenses that give rise to new hypocrisies and mythologies, translating terrorists into martyrs and acts of despair into feats of heroism.
Washington Post
A plausible, terrifying chronicle of the fracture and subsequent annihilation of the US . . . A thrillingly complex adventure that moves from the American south to Alaska and on to the Middle East and North Africa . . . At its heart and most movingly, the novel also becomes a coming-of-age narrative about how easily a curious child faced with horror and powerlessness can transform into a weapon intent on obliteration. As we learn at the end of the prologue, “This isn’t a story about war. It’s about ruin.”’
The Australian
El Akkad’s debut novel transports us to a terrifyingly plausible future in which the clash between red states and blue has become deadly . . . Part family chronicle, part apocalyptic fable, American War is a vivid narrative of a country collapsing in on itself, where political loyalties hardly matter given the ferocity of both sides and the unrelenting violence that swallows whole bloodlines and erodes any capacity for mercy or reason. This is a very dark read; El Akkad creates a world all too familiar in its grisly realism.
Publishers' Weekly